Tennis News: Holger Rune's advice from GOAT and Alexander Bublik lets ball kid play

  • Rune reveals who gave him the most advice
  • Bublik hands his racket to a ball kid in a live match
Jason Koerner/GettyImages

Holger Rune will turn 21 years old later in April and while a gifted player, he is still waiting on that one major breakthrough. While he is still very young, he has watched Carlos Alcaraz, who is only a week younger than Rune, win two Grand Slams and reach No. 1 on the ATP tour. Rune might still get to that level, but he is seemingly going through the stages of being a young player with immense skill but figuring out how to best use his ability.

Rune, however, might not even be as far along as he currently is (he is a fixture in the ATP top 10) without the help of arguably the greatest player ever, Novak Djokovic. In a recent interview with Punto de Break, the Dane spoke at length about what tennis life was like for him even before he began playing in Challenger events and which players helped him and which did not nearly as much. Djokovic was a player who seemingly went out of his way to give advice to Rune.

Rune said, "He has taught me a lot. He has always been very nice to me. I remember that we trained here about five years ago before I started playing Challengers, and he was very interested, asking questions, giving me advice, and also opening up about what his career was like. For such a young player, that means a lot."

Holger Rune praises Novak Djokovic and Alexander Bublik has some fun

This is one of the more undervalued parts of Djokovic and tennis. While many tennis fans prefer Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for their apparent niceness, the Serb is viewed as many as not overly friendly. But this appears to be a false narrative and other players, such as Rune, dispel the rumor that Djokovic is standoffish.

To a point anyway. Rune did point out that since he has defeated Djokovic a couple of times on the ATP, the Serb is not giving him more advice. Rune said, "My relationship with Novak is different now we are competing. I've beaten him twice, so he doesn't give me advice anymore. He's someone nice."

Speaking of being nice, Alexander Bublik did something interestingly funny during a live match this past weekend. In his first match at the Monte-Carlo Masters, Bublik was getting beaten badly by his opponent, Borna Coric. Bublik brings a certain flare to his matches anyway with underhand serves at times and other unconventional play. But down 1-6 and 0-1 in the second set, Bublik thought he might as well give his racket to a nearby ball kid and let them play.

In between points, Bublik approached the ball kid and handed his racket over. The kid was clearly confused as we all would have been. But Bublik egged on the kid and they then walked to the service line and served two balls that both went into the net (still better than I would have done under the circumstances.) It was all in good fun and the chair umpire let it go for one point without taking any discipline out on Bublik.

To be fair, the kid would not have done much worse. Bublik lost 1-6 1-6.

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